General Dynamics C4 Systems' (GDC4S) joint tactical radio system (JTRS) AN/PRC-154 Rifleman radios have completed the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) at the US Army's Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) at Fort Bliss in Texas, US.
During the testing, the performance and reliability of the radios was tested by soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD) in several realistic scenarios including convoy operations, reconnaissance, counterinsurgency and medical evacuation missions.
2/1 AD company commander captain Ryan McNally said the ability to communicate through radios in contrast to hand-and-arm signals used earlier have improved the soldiers' tactical approach to missions.
"We have to factor in being able to talk to each other over a distance, rather than everybody being essentially co-located with a limited amount of space and distance between them," McNally added.
The AN/PRC-154 is a lightweight, ruggedised, body worn, small form fit (HMS) family of radios capable of transmitting voice, GPS locations and data simultaneously between platoon, squad and team-level soldiers by utilising the soldier radio waveform (SRW) network manager system.
The radio is designed to provide warfighters with enhanced situational awareness by delivering secure (type two) inter-squad communications at the tactical edge of battlefield and also helps team and squad leaders to track individual soldier GPS locations.
GDC4S Assured Communications vice president Chris Brady said: "With the rifleman radio, soldiers can connect their cell phone or computer and join the network anywhere they fight."
The low rate initial production (LRIP) of 6,250 rifleman radios was started in June 2011 and the IOT&E is the last test required by the military to allow the product to enter full rate production.
GDC4S is the prime contractor for the JTRS HMS programme and the team includes BAE Systems, Rockwell Collins and Thales Communications.
Caption: General Dynamics C4 Systems' JTRS AN/PRC-154 Rifleman radios for the US Army. Image courtesy: US Army.